What Is the Pit Boss P Setting and How Should You Use It

Are you looking wondering how to use the P setting on your Pit Boss grill?

A Pit Boss Grill uses wood pellets for its fuel source. Some folk have trouble controlling the temperature with pellets. However, that is where the “P” setting comes in.

The most common question we get is “what is the P setting for?” This is an important concept to understand, as it affects how you control the temperature.

Don’t worry, read further and we’ll explain everything to you.

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I love my Pit Boss it makes some EPIC BBQ! They are so many Pit Boss recipes of mine you can try, as it char-grill, bake, smoke, roast, sear, and even braise.

pit boss p setting for brisket
That’s where you control the P setting from.

What is The Pit Boss P Setting?

The ‘p setting’ (stands for pause) allows you to control the way your Pit Boss cooks. Pellet grills are unique because they have a pellet cycle. These control how you grill replenishes and burns the pellets inside of it.

The “P” Set button actually allows you to halt this cycle for a certain amount of time.

Resource: See how to use a Pit Boss smoker here.

How Does The P Setting Work?

All you need to know is that the higher the number is set, the longer the pause is. And vice versa, the lower the number equals a shorter pause.

Why is this important?

It helps you control the temperature fluctuations. Therefore, you can use the p setting to control your Pit Boss Grill’s temperature settings.

Say ‘goodbye’ to annoying swings in temperature, and ‘hello’ to consistent temperatures all the time.

Remember its takes Pit Boss Grill takes about 8 to 10 minutes to heat up. I advise allowing 15 minutes for heating as a rule of thumb and to give wiggle room.

Adjusting the P Setting: What You Should Know

When modifying the p setting, keep in mind that lowering the pellet supply — or raising the pause duration — will lower the grill’s temperature.

As a result, the firebox will produce more smoke. If you’re wondering why it’s because the pellets won’t ignite into a fire right away.

Instead, it will smoulder, which will result in additional smoke. As a result, if you do the opposite, the interior temperature of the grill will increase.

This is due to the fact that reducing the p setting will allow more pellets to enter the firebox; increasing the pellet flow. This will cause the pellets to ignite more quickly, resulting in a larger fire.

The official Pit Boss Grill manual and site suggest that you start on the default factory setting.

This means that you should set your P setting to the factory default setting of P-4. And you should use it on that factory setting before adjusting it.

And if you’ve ever wondered “Which P setting should I use for smoking a pork shoulder?”

Pork shoulder should be cooked ‘low and slow. So, in most cases, you’d want to increase that P setting so that there’s a lower pellet flow and a smaller fire.

We’d recommend trying it out at about P-5 or P-6

p setting temperature chart(1)
This is a picture of the temperature chart from the manual of my Pit Boss PB820

When To Adjust the P Setting

Let’s say that the current temperature of your grill is under 200°F and your Pit Boss is on the ‘smoke’ setting.If you find yourself experiencing this scenario, then you’ll also notice that the internal temperature will begin to fluctuate.

This is when you should adjust the P setting — it’s designed to work with the ‘smoke’ mode. This is because the P setting controls the pellet flow which affects the amount of smoke produced.

Looking for Some Pit Boss Recipes?

I love my Pit Boss it makes some EPIC BBQ! They are so many Pit Boss recipes of mine you can try, as it char-grill, bake, smoke, roast, sear, and even braise.

P Setting For Cold Weather

You may need to adjust the P Setting for cold weather. There is a comprehensive guide on doing this here.

Adjusting the P Setting: What You Should Know

You may notice that the P set button is indented. Much like an old-school reset button that you’d find on devices from the 90s and early to mid-2000s.

It’s not something that you can reach with your finger. It’s designed like this so that you won’t find yourself accidentally pushing it while you cook.

All you need to do if you want to change the P setting is to grab a toothpick (or something else that is small enough) and stick it through the tiny hole.

Unlike those old-school pesky reset buttons, you will not need to exert a lot of force.

Just push it lightly and you’ll see the number slowly increasing as the P setting goes up.

To Get Maximum Smoke Flavor

The higher the P setting is set to, the more the wood pellets have a chance to smoulder. This produces more smoke.

The P setting’s highest level is P-7. So you can slowly increase it and find what works best for you and how you want to cook the meat. But you must keep in mind that more smoke equals less fire.

If your Pit Boss isn’t smoking see here to find out how to fix it.

So, just keep an eye on your grill and lower that P setting if it looks like the fire might go out.

If you’re still confused about all the settings, here’s a Pit Boss “P” setting temp chart to help you.

To Get Maximum Heat

How do you increase the heat? By making the fire bigger. Just lower the P setting of your Pit Boss Grill to increase the flow of pellets.

This will ensure that there’s more ignition and the temperature will rise.

With a Temperature Dial Preset

If you’d like to control the temperature in a more accurate fashion, instead of eye-balling everything and fiddling around with the P setting, you can rely on the Pit Boss Grill’s temperature dial presets.

After you’ve preheated your grill, and set it to the ‘smoke’ mode, just set the dial to the temperature you’d like.

The grill will then maintain that temperature after it’s done preheating.

6. More Tips for Temperature Control

With all that said, the Pit Boss Grill’s P setting is not the only way to adjust the internal temperature.

We have a few other pieces of advice for you to try out.

1. Use a Dome Thermometer

A dome thermometer will tell you the temperature of the air above the food.

While it’s not going to give you completely accurate readings, it’s perfectly fine if you just want to know the approximate temperature.

A dome thermometer will be enough to give you an indication of whether or not you need to adjust your grill’s settings.

2. Use a Meat Probe

If you don’t want to rely on a dome thermometer, because it tells you the air temperature instead of the food’s, then you can always use a meat probe.

This will give you very accurate readings of the meat’s temperature.

So you’ll know how exactly when you should adjust the fire. These aren’t expensive and you can easily buy one in-store or online.

3. Make Sure You Cook With Quality Pellets

If you’re already using all-natural wood pellets with your Pit Boss Grill, you might want to go a step further and purchase actual Pit Boss brand pellets.

These were specifically designed for Pit Boss Grills and they’re guaranteed to work well in conjunction with the P setting.

Try using cherrywood or applewood for turkey, the flavors compliment each other well.

4. Keep The Smoker Door Closed

This is completely common knowledge, but we completely forget it sometimes too! Try your best to resist the urge to open the smoker door when you don’t really need to.

Opening it too many times during a cook completely messes up the internal temperature of your grill. You don’t want the temperature to drop unnecessarily. So, just be patient and keep that door shut!

5. Check the Burn Pot

Maintain the burn pot and make sure there aren’t any holes in it.

Much like an open smoker door, a hole will let heat escape unnecessarily.

Wrapping It Up

Now that you’ve learned what the P setting is, and how to use it, go and take control of your next big cook!

Smoke On!


Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

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2 thoughts on “What Is the Pit Boss P Setting and How Should You Use It”

  1. I am a first time pellet smoker buyer and just purchased a Pit Boss 850 Pro. It’s gonna be a steep learning curve. I’m 73 and not so sure I’m gonna be able to pull it off. I’m gonna try.

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